Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spicy Ice Cream and Finally Reaching Goals cream. On the anti-Candida diet, I've had a hard time dealing with the loss of so many dessert items. But I finally managed to get one back.

I've been familiar with coconut ice cream for a while, thanks to my sister, but all the store bought ones I've seen are packed with sugar. So I set to find a more ACD-friendly version. Inspired by the recipe over at Caveman Food, I sought to make something creamy and delicious, while still being sugar-free.

It certainly looks like ice cream (it's soft because it just came out of the machine). Mmm...the flavor is creamy and refreshing, not too sweet but sweet enough. Ahh, yes. But wait...why is my face burning? I have a solution for that! More ice cream. Lather, rise and repeat your way into deliciousness.

This is not your average scoop of vanilla. I wanted something with plenty of flavor, but without the additional carbs offered by filling it with fruit (not that there's a problem with fruit). What started with cinnamon quickly spiraled into an unusual, tasty concoction. Baker beware, but it is an enjoyable, if unexpected flavor combination.

A bowl of ice cream was a great way for me to celebrate the long-anticipated success at meeting my weight loss goal. It took me three years, but I'm finally down to my 'ideal BMI' and am 30 pounds lighter. I have been down and back up over the long stretch, but the most recent loss (due to my new lifestyle) has put me 20 pounds lighter since Thanksgiving 2010. It was the perfect pace for me, fast enough to see progress and slow enough that I stayed healthy. I know my revised eating plan may seem extreme to some, but it is pretty balanced and I make sure to get enough healthy calories and nutrients.

The long and short of it is I am super happy to have reached a goal I've had for a good while, but I don't see any reason to let up now. Instead of a focus on weight loss, I can now look to muscle toning and shaping, as well as continuing to nurture a healthy digestive track and overall wellbeing. I look forward to seeing how things progress in the future. I would like to thank my loving husband, family and friends that have supported me and been patient as I've continued to stumble through this process. You all are amazing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

90 Days and Mexican Omelet

Hey ya'll! I know it's been a while since I've checked in, but I'm back with news and a new recipe. I have been out of town, visiting my folks and managed to do some amazing things (at least for me). I found I can comfortably eat out at more than one restaurant. I must admit, one of them is at salad bar buffets, but the other was a 'real' meal at a local steakhouse. If any of you live near a Logan's, I really recommend there Health Nut Menu (on the back of the regular menu). I had a pretty guilt-free, flavorful sirloin and all I had to do was substitute lemon and oil for the lite dressing. Delicious!

I also spent two whole Saturdays judging for a children's creativity competition. I dreaded it, as it's a long day when you have to bring your own food, but I managed much better than expected. I made a few staples that I hoarded, and my wonderful parents provided additional healthy snacks for the whole appraiser team. It was awesome to see normal people happy to have healthy snack alternatives I could enjoy with them. (Not to say they weren't also nomming down on some chocolate. ;) ) I was able to reheat a filling lunch of ground turkey, steamed veggies and brown rice, which helped me avoid the temptation of the provided lunches. Over all, an amazing experience. And the best part of all was I finished my first 90 days on the anti-candida diet.

Since I've been home, however, there's been a bit of a dry spell as far as food goodness has gone. I haven't been recipe browsing as much (mainly because I've actually had the energy to get back to painting) and meals have been pretty simple. I did try reintroducing goat cheese (since it was post 90 days), but even in small amounts, I seem to react poorly to it. It was very discouraging, as regaining any form of cheese was one of my big deferred rewards I was looking forward to. Oh well, I'll try it again some day down the road and see if it's still disagreeable. I still seem to have no problem with yogurt, so I have contented myself to the substitution.

Which leads to today! I've been eating a lot of eggs because they're quick and easy and don't require an actual recipe. But today I found one I will definitely be making again. Full of veggies and flavor, this omelet is very satisfying.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf

Valentine's...a day for love. A love of meat! Mmm....meatloaf. It's like meat. In a loaf. With other yumminess. What's not to love?

Unfortunately, a lot of that yumminess is not friendly to an anti-Candida diet. And with all the hidden high fructose corn syrup and other chemicals in many traditional ingredients, most of the rest of us could stand to partake of a healthier version.

I really missed it, but I didn't want to compromise something I had enjoyed so much previously. It took me a long time to find a meatloaf I liked originally (I tend to enjoy beef un-ground), and when I did, I wanted it to be ketchup and Worcester sauce indulgent. Replacing those flavors became a little bit easier when I added yacon syrup to the mix. It gave me back a bit of sweetness that I craved to complement the tomato flavor.

There were a lot of ACD meatloaf recipes to go through, but none of them really captured what I remembered. There were flavors and textures (breadcrumbs, especially) that I just didn't see accounted for. So throwing caution to the wind, I decided to pick some from column A and B, smush it together and throw it in the oven. And the result was...well, meatloaf! Firm but moist, speckled with veggies and topped off with a sweet tomato sauce. It may still be tweakable, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. What do ya'll love in your meatloaf? I'd love to hear ideas to improve this recipe.

But if you would rather just get to the eating, by all means, read on and get in the kitchen! :D

Monday, February 7, 2011

Black Bean Chili

I have a confession.

I hate beans. I have since I was young. They're bland and gritty and just...ew. I've tried to like them, really I have. In college, I learned to tolerate them if they were covered in sinful sugar (aka baked and ranch-style), but with the new dietary restrictions, those went right out the window. But beans are good for you, you say? Believe me, I know. I want to eat more of them.

What about in chili? NEVER! Chili is something I love. Something dear that I have always been appreciative of, whether slow cooked until chunks of beef melted into deliciousness or just that satisfying glob of grease that was scooped from a can. Chili dogs, Frito pie or just on its own with lots of cheese, I wasn't too picky. Well, except for one thing. No beans!

So what on Earth drove me to try a black bean chili? Honestly, I'm not sure. But I have been wanting to eat more beans and I wasn't going to if I didn't start somewhere. I found a recipe in The Mayo Clinic Willians-Sonoma Cookbook that looked doable. I was short a can of black beans, but I did have an extra of chickpeas. I figured stock would add more flavor than water. I didn't have oregano or cilantro, but hey if it was decent I could always try it next time. I was a bit wary about the bell pepper (which I also hate) and celery (which seemed counter-intuitive to what I think of chili as a Texan), but I gave it a go.

First taste, ew. Super bland. I looked back at the recipe only to realize there's no salt listed. I guess that makes sense for a health cookbook, but it also makes for a lackluster chili, in my opinion. Salt added, I tried again. Better, but still missing something. A lime really woke it up. And I couldn't resist trying some yacon syrup in it, as I have a weakness for chilies with just a touch of brown sugar.

Wow. I am genuinely surprised. These beans...aren't so bad actually. I would eat them again. Hell, I have no doubt I'll finish off this pot. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how it ages (as chili tends to improve, for those that aren't as familiar with it). It even excited me to try more chili recipes and see what else I can do to improve it. If ya'll have any ideas (I know some of you make fierce chili), please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Coconut Curry Chicken

First off, I apologize for this picture. It's just a tricky dish to photograph in a bowl. A deliciously tricky one, I might add.

I really try to be adventurous (within the limits of my diet, of course) but there are some dishes that make me nervous. Curry was one of those dishes. I've never found my palate for Indian food, but I figured I should give it another go, as my experience was still limited. Turns out that not all curries are created equal and that some are actually quite tasty.

This experiment also gave me a chance to try out more cooking with coconut oil, which I'm really enjoying. Even the nice virgin variety has a higher smoke point than olive oil, which is most helpful. Plus it's a quite unique saturated fat, one that's benefits seem to be numerous. And I can use it on my skin to boot! Awesome stuff and something that I'll write more about at length some other time. Now it's curry time!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chard Taco Salad


I know I'm a bit overdue; I tried to get to this all week. But at least I'm here now and with a delicious way to get in some of those healthy leafy greens. And I'm definitely always looking for more of those. The base of this recipe came from a Chard Taco recipe over on I had never eaten chard and after a disaster with mustard greens, I have learned that not all greens are created equal, especially as far as flavor is concerned. There was a bit to tweak, but it certainly seemed do-able.

I haven't come up with a manageable bread-like wrapper yet, so I figured I'd make this a salad. Of course, if tortillas are on your menu, by all means, wrap these puppies up! I hope to try it myself, having just heard about Trader Joe's Brown Rice Tortillas (or even if I wait to try corn again). I made a pound of ground turkey ahead of time, just seasoned with a little salt. I like to have it in the fridge for a quick bit of protein for a meal or snack. Otherwise, the rest is actually pretty easy and not that time consuming (by my somewhat skewed whole food standards).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Green Soup and Black Bean Fudge

Ah! So many recipes. What a delightfully delicious backlog I'm developing. I hope to get at least a few more out this week. But in the meantime, I would like to make a few recommendations if you're looking for something nutritious and delicious. I'm not going to copy out the recipes (though I will fill you in on the changes I made). Just follow the links for the full list and directions.

First, this super healthy Detox Green Soup from Gluten-Free Goddess. This soup surprised me so much. Surely something so healthy had to be...well, you know...not something you would necessarily choose to eat for the benefits of your taste buds. But even the rest of the test kitchen was surprised by its astounding flavor. And of course, it's full of wonderful things for you. Even reheats well. The only change I made was completely on accident.

In my rush between wanting to eat healthy and actually wanting to get to the eating, my brain translated '2 Tbsp of diced onion' into '1 diced onion' And of course I didn't even see my mistake until I was far past the point of no return. With only the option to go forward or abandon things completely, I chose the former. While eating on this diet I've learned that I can stomach quite a bit and I would just deal with it if it was too onion-y. But it wasn't! That was the best part. It was still wonderful and made (what I assume to be) another serving's worth of finished soup. I topped mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, which was lovely, but for those that can have cheese, I understand it's a marvelous pairing.

My only other tip is manage your ginger. I have found a new love in fresh ginger so I was thrilled it was in this soup. I chopped it and added it, knowing that everything would be blended in the end. What I didn't realized at the time was that this recipe makes a lot of soup. And well, my emulsion blender was rather intimidated by this fact. I did my best, but next go around I will try even harder. Or at least cut my ginger up more before adding. There's something unnerving about expecting a delectable lump of parsnip and biting down on a face-burning chunk of ginger. Consider yourselves warned.

The other recipe I would like to recommend is the Black Bean Fudge from Cats in the Kitchen. When I first looked through this recipe, I must confess to some reservations. But it also looked cheap, fast and easy, so I figured, what was there to lose?

The answer was nothing! Just toss everything in the food processor and go. This is definitely my kind of cooking. The resulting paste was smooth and not too sweet. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't chocolate (because I'm currently cocoa-free and was limited to carob). It was still yummy! And also guilt-free. Overall, definitely something that I'll make again. I hope to translate it into a frosting recipe if possible at some point.

The only changes I made here were actually recommended variations. First, I did use the sunbutter/coconut oil blend (instead of just coconut oil). I might try the coconut oil on its own at some point, but was happy with the texture. The other addition was peppermint extract. I found it to be a vast improvement in my fudge, though that might be due to the fact that I didn't get to use real cocoa. The peppermint helped convince my taste buds that it was at least more like chocolate. Which, by the way, I haven't had since Thanksgiving. :(

Still, you might like it more with cocoa (or a cocoa/carob blend if you want to limit your caffeine intake). I look forward to experimenting with other flavor combinations and practical applications for this particular recipe.

I hope ya'll enjoy one or both of these at some point. Check out both blogs for other great recipes and ideas. And in case you didn't notice, I've also added some awesome food blogs to the side bar. Just be careful, it's easy to get lost looking through mouth-watery recipes. Have fun! :D